.id insight newsletter - May 2015
The 2016 Australian Census is saved!
Congratulations to everybody who has been campaigning to save the 2016 Australian Census. Recently, I received a letter from Kelly O’Dwyer, the Parliamentary Secretary to the Treasurer, stating, “I can confirm that the 2016 Census is on track to provide Australia with a snapshot of our nation, including very high quality small area and small population data”. I was particularly relieved that the Secretary noted the bit about, “very high quality small area… data” because this is the thing about a Census that a 'big data combined with rolling surveys' approach is unlikely to provide. Our concerns at .id and the reason we campaigned so hard to keep the Census alive is the need many of our clients have for small area data. More specifically, our concerns were that community-level data rarely come into the minds of the ‘powers’ in Canberra. My discussions with Federal politicians made it clear to me that community-level (sub-LGA) data was not on their radar. Now it is, but for how long?
A lesson from this episode is to not take the Australian or New Zealand Censuses for granted and at .id we will certainly double our efforts to identify what we will lose if we don’t have a regular Census (or an effective alternative). The way New Zealand have conducted this process has been a lot more consultative, but the Census as we know it in New Zealand is likely to change.
Lastly, the end of the financial year is nigh and we are receiving requests for our Communities of Interest modules – check them out here. They present a unique and powerful way of looking at and understanding communities through the demographic lens - using very high quality small area data.